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St. Mary’s Hangs on to Defeat Incarnate Word 59-58

San Antonio – Dawn Killian’s free throw with one second left was the difference as St. Mary’s University lost a 19-point lead, but held on for a 59-58 win over the University of the Incarnate Word in Heartland Conference women’s basketball action Saturday night at the McDermott Convocation Center.

The Rattlers took a 19-point lead at 49-30 on a three-pointer by Juanita Merchant (Jr., Angleton) with 16:33 remaining in the game. The Cardinals went on a 7-0 run to cut the Rattler lead to 12 at 49-37 with 14:47 left to play. Another Merchant three-pointer increased the St. Mary’s lead to 15 points at 52-37 with 14:17 left. That would be the last points the Rattlers would score for the next 10 minutes as UIW went on an 18-0 run to take a 55-52 lead with 4:28 left to play.

The Rattlers committed 10 turnovers and missed all 10 shots they took during that time. Natalie Gamez (So., San Antonio) broke the scoreless streak with a three-pointer at the 4:12 mark to tie the game at 55. Nia Torru gave the Cardinals a three-point lead with a layup and free throw with 2:47 remaining. Gamez brought the Rattlers right back with her third and final trey of the game at the 2:31 mark to tie the game at 58. Neither team scored over the next 2:30 until Killian (Sr., San Antonio) was fouled by Brittany Hardy with just one second left on the clock. Killian missed the first free throw, but made the second one and Charlena Rodez (Sr., Cedar Park) stole the inbound pass, sealing the win.

Rodez led all players with 17 points and 10 rebounds to post her third double-double of the season. Gamez came off the bench to score 15 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season. Killian scored 12 points and dished out seven assists. St. Mary’s shot 45.8 percent (22-48) from the field, including 47.1 percent (8-17) from three-point range. The Rattlers outrebounded the Cardinals 32-25.

Three Cardinals scored in double figures in the game, led by Ieasha Sledge with 16 points. Nia Torru and Danielle Farriel each had 12 points in the game.

With the win the Rattlers improved to 7-13 overall and 3-3 in Heartland Conference play. Incarnate Word fell to 9-12 and 3-3. St. Mary’s will return to action on Thursday when they host Montana State University-Billings at 5:30 p.m. at Bill Greehey Arena.

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